Suffredin- Changing County Government  
 

Accountability
Forest Preserves
Public Safety
Cook County Budget
Forest Pres. Budget
Property Tax Appeal
Health & Hospitals
Land Bank Authority
Policy Resolutions
Unsung Heroine

 

   
 
   
   
 
   
     
  Office phone numbers:  
   
 
 

Search current and proposed Cook County Legislation in Larry's exclusive legislative library.

   
 

The Cook County Code of Ordinances are the current laws of Cook County.

   
  Last year more people used the County's forest preserves than visited Yellowstone National Park.
   
     
     
     



Red-light camera plan pits Cook County against suburbs
Opponents, proponents debate legality of move

Wednesday, June 09, 2010
Chicago Tribune
by Dan Hinkel


Arlington Heights Mayor Arlene Mulder paused for a long moment before finishing her suggestion about what Cook County can do with its recently announced plan to use red-light cameras to ticket suburban drivers.

"Cook County can just take their cameras," Mulder said, "and put them anywhere they want, but not in my town."

Several communities have launched efforts to try to keep the cameras out after county commissioners last week voted to install them, releasing a list of 30 "top candidate intersections" — crossings with at least one county-maintained road in towns from Tinley Park to Schaumburg to Wilmette.

So far, only 20 intersections are expected to get cameras when the devices are rolled out, according to county officials, who said they hope to have them up and running sometime this year.

Opposition has been loudest in the north and northwest suburbs. Leaders in Schaumburg, which has six intersections on the list, said they may seek an injunction to block the devices. At least one community, Wilmette, drafted a resolution opposing the plan and blasting the county for what suburban officials claim is a revenue grab.

James Ramos, a spokesman for Cook County Board President Todd Stroger, said no information was available on potential revenues the devices would generate. But he said estimates indicate the plan should at least break even.

The county, Ramos said, has no plan to share camera revenues with the municipalities.

Cook County Commissioner Larry Suffredin said tentative budget calculations have placed the cameras' possible revenue haul at $2 million in the first year. Suffredin, who voted in favor of the contract, said he thinks the cameras could make the intersections safer.

Addressing concerns that the move is a gambit to boost revenue, Stroger spokeswoman Chris Geovanis said the plan's only goal is to "enhance safety." She said the county would strive to avoid inaccurate citations, and said the intersections were chosen using state-provided accident data.

"It's a safety-first thing," she said.

Cook County Highway Department Superintendent Rupert Graham Jr. said the intersections were chosen using traffic statistics and information on the number and severity of accidents at the intersections. The cameras would only record traffic on the roads that are maintained by the county, he said.

Some municipal leaders were casually receptive to the plan. Officials in Buffalo Grove and Tinley Park said they would not oppose a thoughtfully deployed camera program. Elk Grove Village Mayor Craig Johnson said the legal department was looking into jurisdictional issues, but said he generally supports red-light cameras.

But leaders in several suburbs question how intersections in their municipalities were chosen.

Wilmette Village Manager Timothy Frenzer said the intersection at Lake Avenue and Ridge Road was once a trouble spot, but changes in lane configurations and new traffic signals have reduced crashes there. Wilmette has no red-light cameras, he said.

Burr Ridge Village Administrator Steven Stricker and Palos Hills Mayor Gerald Bennett both said they weren't sure why intersections in their municipalities were chosen. Stricker said Burr Ridge has no cameras, and Bennett said Palos Hills has two.

"It sounds to me like they haven't done their research," Stricker said.

Commissioners Timothy Schneider and Tony Peraica have vowed to try to halt the plan.

Schneider said he has asked the state's attorney's office to examine whether the county can legally use the cameras to monitor intersections in municipal jurisdictions. Some suburban leaders have questioned the county's right to do so.

Chicago attorney Eydie Glassman said she sees no jurisdictional reason the county couldn't use cameras to remotely patrol county-maintained roads, even if those roads cut through municipalities.

Municipal leaders are united on one point: They say Cook County officials didn't consult them during the plan's formulation.

"We just found out through the media, which does not make us real happy," Palatine Mayor Jim Schwantz said.

Graham said the county would notify municipalities once the intersections are selected.

Schwantz said residents in Palatine, a community where a wide majority voted symbolically in favor of seceding from Cook County last spring, would not be "excited" by the prospect of being monitored by the county.

Schneider agreed, saying, "This just gives everybody all the more reason to want to secede from Cook County."

Sitting on the patio at a coffee shop a few hundred feet from the Schaumburg and Roselle roads intersection in Schaumburg, Karen Groves and Kathy Boyd disagreed on whether a red-light camera there would improve safety.

Boyd said the light would increase the danger by encouraging drivers to speed up or slow down. Groves said she thinks the cameras are good for safety.

But neither Schaumburg resident wants to give any more revenue to Cook County.

"I don't trust any of these people in office now," Boyd said.

Freelance writer Graydon Megan contributed to this story.

dhinkel@tribune.com


Recent Headlines

Wilmette minimum wage working group surveys businesses, will survey residents
Monday, February 19, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Anti-soda tax PAC jumps in Cook County Board races
Monday, February 19, 2018
Chicago Sun-Times

Circuit clerk gets stay on e-filing order
Friday, February 16, 2018
Chicago Daily Law Bulletin

Hundreds gather at Bridgeport church for Cmdr. Paul Bauer's wake
Friday, February 16, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Dart goes to court in effort to find person accusing him of domestic violence
Friday, February 16, 2018
Chicago Sun-Times

Study says property tax system favors rich
Friday, February 16, 2018
Chicago Sun-Times

Property Tax System ‘More Regressive’ in Cook County, Report Finds
Friday, February 16, 2018
WTTW Chicago Tonight

VIDEO: Cook County Jail detainees applaud CPD commander’s alleged killer
Friday, February 16, 2018
Chicago Sun-Times

Blockbuster report: How Cook County tax system shafts the little guy
Thursday, February 15, 2018
Crain's Chicago Business

Order over lawsuits in Dorothy Brown’s office put on hold by appeals court
Wednesday, February 14, 2018
Chicago Sun-Times

Dorothy Brown can't 'end-run' First Amendment, judge says in denying delay
Tuesday, February 13, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Cook County prosecutors toss more convictions tainted by corrupt ex-Chicago police Sgt. Ronald Watts
Tuesday, February 13, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Handwritten documents, Manila folders, carbon paper — welcome to Cook County criminal court
Monday, February 12, 2018
Chicago Tribune

2 Cook County Commissioners missed over a third of Forest Preserve meetings
Sunday, February 11, 2018
Chicago Sun-Times

Cook County Jail guards lock down sweet union contract—despite sour budget mess
Sunday, February 11, 2018
Chicago Sun-Times

Running for judge, Dorothy Brown’s inspector general accepts donation from bos
Friday, February 09, 2018
Chicago Sun-Times

Cook Co. President Urges Trump To Stop ICE Arrests In Courthouses
Wednesday, February 07, 2018
Beverly Patch

Voting in Jail? New Bill Seeks to Expand Ballot Access for Detainees
Wednesday, February 07, 2018
WTTW Chicago Tonight

COOK COUNTY BOARD COMMISSIONER PROPOSES HEARING ON POLICE OVERSIGHT
Wednesday, February 07, 2018
WBEZ BGA

Assessor Berrios Extends Deadline for Senior and Senior Freeze Exemption Applications
Wednesday, February 07, 2018
Special to suffredin.org

all news items

Paid for by Larry Suffredin and not at taxpayer expense. A Haymarket Production.
^ TOP